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View Full Version : Experiment: Dyeing My Nuts



sequoia
11-14-2016, 06:00 PM
Something about bright, dead white bleached bone nuts and saddles against my terrified spruce (instant vintage!) tops just sets my teeth on edge. So I'm experimenting with dyeing my nuts and saddles. I used Chinese restaurant tea and alcohol as a solvent. I nixed using water/tea as it occurred to me that this could cause the bone to swell which could be problematic with saddles. I think a perfect fit here is important: Not too tight, not too loose, but just right. A swollen saddle might be not fit and then as it dries out it might get too loose. Swollen nuts would obviously not be a problem.

I'm also making some nuts and saddles from Micarta stock for the first time. I really do not like the gray look of the material but I love how it works. Soft. Too soft? I tried to dye this with a alcohol tea infusion also, but as you can see below, the material did not dye after soaking over night. The bone however took on a lovely, lustrous hue almost like old ivory. Bone on the left, Micarta on the right.

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Stagehand
11-15-2016, 12:18 AM
I like the look of the bone.

If you are worried about the bone swelling... can you put it in a low oven for a few hours to dry?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-15-2016, 05:17 AM
Just buy these.

http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Nuts_and_Saddles/Unbleached_Bone_Nuts.html

ksquine
11-15-2016, 07:13 AM
Chinese restaurant tea? Are we talking Cantonese style or Sichuan?
If you dye 6 do you get egg roll?? :p

Habanera Hal
11-15-2016, 04:45 PM
I tried to dye my nuts once.......had blue balls for a month.



Sorry, I just had to.
:nana::nana::nana::nana:

sequoia
11-15-2016, 06:29 PM
I tried to dye my nuts once.......had blue balls for a month.:

I'm shocked at such flippancy to my serious post! Shocked I tell you. Shocked!... Well, not really. But seriously, (really) my nuts look much better with the aged ivory look. I even polished them to a lovely sheen. I'm going to dye all my nuts now. Only way to go... Don't really like the look of unbleached bone but thanks for the link. But I hear it is easier to work. Don't know. I'm tellin' ya. bleached bone in tea overnight is pretty nice looking.

Dan Gleibitz
11-15-2016, 08:34 PM
I nearly dyed when I tried to use Mr Timms' Nut Scratcher(tm), having completely misunderstood its purpose.

But seriously, I like this. I wonder how well bone would take commercial coloured dyes?

Michael N.
11-15-2016, 10:56 PM
Not very well in my experience, unless you like a mottled effect. Bone can be very porous in parts, not so in others.
I've used the tea method on bone for use on old instruments. Many years ago I processed my own bone but did not bleach it. That took on an aged look in less than a year, it was off white to begin with anyway.

Habanera Hal
11-17-2016, 04:49 AM
I'm tellin' ya. bleached bone in tea overnight is pretty nice looking.

How about some before and after pics? Have you tried letting the bone soak longer, i.e.: a week or so?

sequoia
11-17-2016, 08:12 AM
How about some before and after pics? Have you tried letting the bone soak longer, i.e.: a week or so?

The picture shows undyed controls on the left and dyed on the right.